“I’m so excited, it’s not often that it happens in Havre de Grace and these girls are a special group,” Manager Chris Mentzer said. “I’ve been coaching them for the last five years and they really deserve to win. They’ve been working so hard, day in and day out.”
Delaney Mentzer drove in the first two runs, plating Kelsey Barks and Alysa Kaptain with a two-out single.
Havre de Grace scored two again in the fourth with two outs. With Katie Burr aboard with a walk, Mentzer reached on an errant throw to first. Mentzer headed for second and Burr for third when a second throwing error sent the ball out into left field.
Burr scored easily and the fleet-footed Mentzer did as well for the 4-1 lead.
Rising Sun also scored twice in the fourth on a two-out single, but Havre de Grace blew the game open in the fifth, sending 12 batters to the plate and scoring six runs.
Natalie Bucci, who had three bunt singles, and Brianna Walls opened the inning with base hits. Autum Keyes drew a walk to load the bases.
Rising Sun pitcher Sam Dixon struck out the next two hitters, but Barks stepped in and delivered the big blow.
Barks blasted a bases-clearing double, one-hop off the fence in left field. “I was kind of thinking in my head, ‘you got this, just hit it,” Barks said. “The same thing on Tuesday night, me hitting the walk-off. I kind of just felt like you gotta have confidence in yourself and I said, ‘every single one of those girls want to strive to get home, I want to strive to get home as well. So my only thought to myself was to hit the ball.”
The blast pushed the lead to 7-3. Burr, who drew three walks and scored three runs, was aboard for Mentzer’s next hit. Mentzer (4 RBIs) doubled to left field, scoring Barks and Burr for the 9-3 lead. “I just say in my head, you got this and I’m gonna hit the ball, hopefully over the fence, but I never give up on myself,” Mentzer said. “This is really big, I never had this big of a opportunity before, I’m happy.”
Mentzer scored the 10th run when Bucci was safe on an fielder’s choice.
Rising Sun put together its biggest inning in the fifth as well. Three runs crossed the plate, all with two outs, but Barks was able to get out of the inning without further damage.
Havre de Grace added its final two runs in the sixth. Ashley Kovacsics and Burr both drew walks and both scored on Mischa Spencer’s single.
Barks then set Rising Sun down in order in the bottom the sixth to set off a chant from the stands, ‘Grace on Top’.
“I felt great, having the championship mindset in your head, never gives up, you always want to strive to be the best, strive to win and I think having the defense around me and having my girls support me made everything so much better,” Barks said.
Barks allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out nine.